Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has removed three senior police officials from their posts in Okara following reports that a father and son were forced to sexually abuse each other in front of other prisoners at a police station there.
Addressing a meeting of the cabinet here on Thursday, the chief minister condemned the “extreme savagery” of the police and vowed to spare no effort to change the police culture.
Sharif issued orders for the Okara district police officer (DPO), the Investigation SP and the DSP to be made officers on special duty (OSD) – meaning they have no posts – and for strong action against the police officials involved in the incident.
The father and son were picked up by the police after a constable was shot and killed during a raid on power thieves at a village in the district. The chief minister said that the constable’s death was a tragedy, but the police response was deplorable and indefensible.
“Nothing can be more condemnable and shameless than for those who are supposed to uphold the law to flout the norms of justice and take the law into their own hands,” he said.
The chief minister said that a high level committee had been set up to look into the matter. He said that the SHO and other officials at the police station would be made an example of, such “that no one dares to commit such a despicable act in future”.
He said that the government was planning to launch a training programme with the help of Turkish experts to reform the force to better serve the public. The police would also be given modern equipment so it could better combat terrorism.
The cabinet meeting also discussed the electricity situation in the province. The chief minister said that the government was negotiating with foreign investors to start alternative energy projects. A conference would soon be held in Lahore to come up with recommendations for curbing the power shortage.
Inspector General of Punjab Police Khan Baig briefed the cabinet in detail on the Okara incident.
Chief Secretary Javed Aslam and Home Secretary Suleman Khan briefed the cabinet on the power shortage and law and order.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th, 2013.